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Letter: Other Ways to Fight Tooth Decay

To the Editor:

Although Bradford residents may have recently over-Googled “water fluoridation,” why is it that we aren’t addressing the main causes of dental cavities rather than focusing on a Band-Aid that, even in the best light, may reduce only 20 to 40 percent of cavities?

There are three main factors needed for decay: bacteria, sugars and time. Although thousands of different bacteria happily live in our mouths, streptococcus mutans mostly are responsible for decay. And we survive on sugars of all types; what eats away at our teeth are mostly the sticky, sugary foods. And the third factor, time, is not on our side. The more time that the sugars linger in our mouths, the more our teeth are demineralized.

Let’s look at our habits and what is important for our children’s health. Stop buying candy and sugary drinks that lead to cavities. Instead, buy sweets that rinse away quickly. Chocolate milk may be a good one. Put new, attractively colored toothbrushes on Santa’s list. Ask your banks to get rid of the candy bins. Ask your grocery stores to leave candy out of the checkout isle. Throw away most of the Halloween candy. Ask your dentist to make an appearance at your school or club. Support excellent nutrition for expectant mothers. Educate yourself and your children on the impact of developing cavities and long-term effects.

So instead of fluoridating 100 percent of our town’s water, of which greater than 99.9 percent never gets ingested by the targeted children, let’s focus on getting to the root of the decay instead of sugarcoating it!

Jean Carlan

Bradford, Vt.

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